Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kathmandu Valley to Discovery Bay






It's 5:35am and I'm wide awake listening to the rain in my home town. It's quiet here....really quiet. I woke up this morning without the help of dogs barking, cars honking their horns, or people just yelling as they pass my window. It's been 3 days since I've left Nepal and I do miss it. I knew I was going to, but my god the reverse culture shock is just insane.
Not only my mind, but my stomach has also decided to be culture shocked. When I was in Nepal my stomach had to adjust to the food. Now it has to readjust back to the food here. The roads are so quiet and clean. No one honks their horns here. When I am handed something or handing something to someone I feel weird using my left hand. The internet is fast and the power is always on. Water is always available and cold. I don't have to worry about the shower having no water/pressure or heat.
It's strange for me to look out my window and see Discovery Bay and not men standing on the side of the street talking and drinking tea. There are no street dogs laying around and there are no children using empty soda cans as soccer balls. There are no volunteers walking in and out of the bedrooms going to placements or just waking up early. I didn't sleep in my sleeping bag for the first time in 9 months.

My last few weeks in Nepal were just hanging out with the children of Papa's House and getting ready to leave. On my last Saturday there at Papa's House all the children got together and had a small going away ceremony for me. I received a bunch of thank you letters from the kids as well as some small gifts that just made my day. It was very kind of Michael and the children for doing that!







The next day was my very last day there. That night it thundered and rained like no other. I was certain that the plane would not take off or at least be delayed. As I was saying goodbye to Anita's girl hostel some of them started to cry and it was kinda emotional. I just said I'll be back soon don't worry. And then they responded with "come quickly ok?". I then ran back to the volunteer hostel and got my shoes and socks soaking wet. My taxi was then supposed to pick me up at 9, but was half an hour late. When he picked me up and we finally left it was still down pouring and there were deep huge puddles covering the whole road. The water would go beneath the taxi and then shoot up going threw some crack under the car getting me wet again.
Anyway I finally got to the airport sat around for a little bit then got on to the plane. The plane flew right through the thunder storm that I thought was going to delay it. The captian said before we left "I wish I could say we are going to have some good weather, but I can't". We had a quick stop in Bangladesh then a long layover in Hong Kong and then another unexpected layover in San Francisco. I actually had one of my friends Jill pick me up from there and drive me downtown for an hour or 2. I was not feeling so well and was half asleep. She bought me some food, but I didn't eat it. Sorry Jill! Finally I went back to the airport and just sat around until my flight to Seattle arrived.

All in all it was a pretty good trip back. Nothing too bad happened and my plane didn't crash so I think it went well.

I'll be back in Nepal for sure next year. I really hope for next year I can get better at the language and be more help to Nepal Orphans Homes. This 9 months was amazing and wouldn't trade it for the world, but I hope I can venture out of the city and help in more rural places around Nepal. The kids at Papa's House are safe, happy, and are getting a good education. I'm ready to help the other kids in Nepal that deserve the same. :)
If you have any questions about volunteering or want to help email me or message me anytime you want. I'd be more than happy to talk about my experience in Nepal.



Namaste


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Begining of the End

Only two months left in Nepal......It doesn't feel like I have a short time here, but I know that these two months will fly by. I have a lot of stuff to take care of. The past month or so I've been thinking about how it would feel living over here working and helping children.

I've stopped teaching at Skylark for about two weeks now. The reason being is that I went back to Narti to help maybe sorta kinda with the situation down there. I was there for a day and half and had to return. Not the right time. We (me, Vinod and Jake another volunteer) did however bring back 8 children. The 8 children who range from ages 8-13 took a huge step in their lives. Most of them didn't have parents or only had one parent still living, but couldn't or didn't want to take care of them. There was also 1 boy in the group we took back. I don't really know his story, but I know that his mom or step mom beat him and his dad could care less about him. He also said he would run away if he couldn't stay at the Narti hostel, because he never wanted to go back home.
So my 5th trip to Narti wasn't a big waste. These kids decided on their own that they wanted a better life for themselves and at a young age still kinda understood what this chance could mean.






So here I am. Back at the volunteer hostel in Kathmandu with 2 months left. I have no idea what to do. I really really really wish I could of stayed in Narti, but it just wasn't the right time. I think I'll have to sit down with Michael and sort everything out. My good friend Leif is coming to Nepal this weekend. Not to see me, but to climb "the Goddess Mother of the Earth" Mt. Everest. He will be here in Kathmandu for a few days so I think we will meet up. Really looking forward to seeing someone from home.

Anyway here are a few pics.
Namaste





Thursday, February 18, 2010

4 More Months

So if you already didn't know I've decided to stay in Nepal for another 4 months. About a week before my original departure I finally decided after a lot of thought. I've already been in Nepal for 5 months and really wanted to go home and see my family and friends. On the other hand I was offered a part time job you could say working for Nepal Orphans Home. At first when I talked to the founder of N.O.H about what I'd be doing it sounded like I would be managing a hostel in Western Nepal. I was super excited about it. That's what I wanted to do! I would be in charge of a hostel that would have 20 something girls living there. The girls would all be rescued from slavery. I was a bit nervous but also ready for the challenge of my new job. However that plan has not come through yet. There are still some problems going on out west that need to be taken care of before I can head out there.

So as I waited in Kathmandu I wondered "what will I do now?". That question was soon answered for me. All the kids that stay at Papa's House (a.k.a Nepal Orphan Homes) go to Skylark English School. The school is probably the best school I've seen in Nepal. It is well run and the teachers seem to actually care. The kids have to speak English all the time when there.

Anyway Michael Hess the founder of N.O.H suggested to me that I volunteer at the school and teach English. At first I was not that excited at the idea. However at the school already there was another volunteer from the U.S teaching the same classes. He had also been referred to by Michael. That volunteer was leaving soon, so I could take his place. Also that same volunteer who was named Palden was coaching the boys bball team. So that got me really interested in volunteering at the school. The last week Palden was there I would go with him to his classes that I would be taking over. Class 5 and 6 were the ones I would be teaching. The subject Creative English. I was a little nervous about the teaching, but after a few sit ins with Palden I knew it would be OK.

The boys basketball team was my safety zone. I know basketball..I've been playing since I was 8. Physically I might not be that good, but mentally I can teach fundamentals and the game. These boys need to work on their fundamentals badly. They show flashes of greatness, but have never been really coached until Palden and I showed up. I know if we just keep on working at everything I will see great improvements. Next month I think we will be in some tournaments around Kathmandu so the team is really excited about that. I'll let you know how they go.

Other than teaching at Skylark I've been helping out around the orphanage doing what is asked. Taking kids to the dentist, reading at night, and helping with homework is what I'm usually doing. I'm enjoying every moment I have with these kids. I miss my home in America very much, but when I'm helping these kids or just playing games with them it makes so much easier to not think about.

NAMASTE

Monday, January 18, 2010

Narti...Thoughts


In the Mid West Region of Nepal lies the very small village of Narti. There is nothing really here. It is very flat and in the summer so hot that you don't even want to go outside. People stare if your not the same color as them and their main transportation is the bicycle. Nepali isn't even the main language. The language is called Tharu, which is also the main caste for that part of Nepal.

It is also here that the orphanage that I've been volunteering for has a hostel. This is no ordinary hostel. It is home to 28 ex-Kamlari (Indentured Servants)girls. Kamlaris are girls or boys that have been sold by their parents because they don't have enough money to take care of them. It is said an entire family in Nepal makes around 210 dollars a year. A parent can sell their child (usually a daughter) for around 40-70 dollars.





Her name is Chaubi. She is quiet but very sweet. Both her parents have died and I guess she just has just Aunts or Uncles now? Anyway she was in class 3 but got moved down to 2. I asked her why and she said because her English teacher never shows up so she failed and they moved her down one whole grade for it. Not even her fault, but she suffers. Sometimes when I was at the hostel painting we would see girls coming back home early. We would ask why and they said cause their teacher never showed up. This would happen everyday. I would look over at the school sometimes and see kids just running around doing whatever and then look up at the roof and see teacher just sitting in the sun.


It was very frustrating at times there, but I think we have found a solution to all the problems we have been facing. The school these girls go to is horrible. They have no guidance. They have no structure at school. This is not fair.





NAMASTE